Rev. Cedric A. Harmon, Executive Director
Cedric works directly with Black religious leaders and other people of faith to engage diverse topics at the intersection of religion, faith and human sexuality. An ordained pastor affiliated with the National Baptist and Missionary Baptist Churches, he provides trainings, workshops, coaching, and presentations—always creating a safe space to connect the concerns of LGBT families with Black churches’ historic commitment to liberation, freedom, and justice.
Formerly, he served as religious organizer for Americans United for Separation of Church and State where for 13 years, he recruited and trained clergy from around the country to provide legislative testimony about issues of religion and government. He’s also known for his writing and television appearances—again on human rights and social justice—and serves on several boards having to do with sexuality and religion.
Jasmine Cooper, Executive Assistant
A native Washingtonian with a knack for communications, Jasmine Cooper brings a fresh perspective to the Many Voices team. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Jasmine’s professional background includes academia, human resources, fundraising and event coordination. After seeing a need for change and desiring to make an impact in her professional community, Jasmine was selected to author a University level Diversity Plan for the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Once that work was complete, Jasmine realized her true passion was caused-based work, specifically with underrepresented minorities, and quickly moved into the non-profit sector. Jasmine’s work is driven by her compassion for others and fueled by her tenacity, attention to detail and commitment to furthering the mission of Many Voices.
Cleis Abeni, Director of Engagement
A veteran engagement and communications specialist for numerous nonprofit organizations since 1986, Cleis (first name rhymes with “dice”) loves to read, write, edit, design, learn, grow, and work in service to others. Pronouns: First preference — please use “Cleis” as a pronoun. Second preference: “she/her.” To learn more about Cleis, visit CleisAbeni.com.
Rev. Melissa N. McQueen-Simmons, North Carolina Faith Organizer
Melissa Nichole McQueen-Simmons is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina, and a first-generation college graduate. She earned her Master of Divinity (M.Div.) with an emphasis in Pastoral Care from Howard University. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ and is installed as pastor and teacher to Many Voices. Her ultimate goal is to work with the oppressed and advocate for restorative justice in both church and community with the intention to enforce God’s inclusive love for all of creation.
She is a lover of travel and music and is a musician, singer, and loves expressing herself in dance and mime. Melissa says of herself, “As I continue on my path to living authentically I am committed to helping others do the same – I am initiating the change I want to see.”